March 1, 2016  —  by

Diversity Matters

credit: Now Fashion

Being a white runway model in fashion world have long time been a norm. But some designers are trying to change the game or perhaps changed the game. This year of New York Fashion Week designers have made big differences when it comes do diversity of the models. Kanye West’s Yeezy Season 3 presentation models were mostly non-white, and designers like Gypsy Sport, Pyper Moss and Rihanna casted diverse models too.

Days before Zac Posen‘s runway show, the designer shared snaps from his mood/inspiration bord. It was pictures from fashion editorials and powerful women. Women of color. The runway show  showcased 33 models, and 25 models were of different color. The lineup featured gorgeous models of color like models Aya Jones, Aamito Lagum, Cindy Bruna, Riley Montana and Grace Bol.

Posen was inspired by Princess Elizabeth of Toro, a Ugandan politician, actress and a lawyer, who became the first East African woman to be accepted to the English bar. She was also a successful model and the first black woman to appear on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar in the 60’s. Princess Elizabeth was an accomplished and beautiful woman — a perfect point of inspiration for a designer. In Zac Posen show notes, Posen noted her “kind nature, stunning appearance and exceptional intellect.”

“Since the inspiration was Elizabeth of Toro it made sense to have a casting reflecting this. Their presence and the diversity of the casting complemented the collection and made it more striking. […] We live in a diverse world and it is essential it is represented in the fashion industry—it has always been critical to me, as well as a key component of my collections—whether it’s shapes, sizes or skin color—as my customers are global and part of all diverse groups,” Posen says.

Interestingly, the show was casted by Maida & Rami, an agency that has been criticized in the past for the  lack of diversity  in its model choices on big name runways like Jil Sander, Christian Dior and Raf Simons.

“I felt that it was a strong message on [our] runway, that the fashion world needed a little kick in the ass, a little wake-up. But it’s just what I see as beauty, nothing more than that,” Posen says.